What is the advantage of scope creep? This question sounds like “What is an advantage of a hurricane?” We know, right.
However, even if it seems like an absolute disaster, except cleaning lagoons, hurricanes actually provide the march areas with nutrient supplies.
The same goes for project creep. Seems like trouble at first, but if you learn how to take advantage of it, it can be really beneficial.
What is The Scope of The Project?
Scope creep is when a scope breaks. But what is the project scope anyway? Project scope is the part of project planning that defines all the goals, deliverables, dependencies, tasks, and deadlines. Its purpose is to determine the project and to guide the project team through project phases.
By defining the project scope, you also define the boundaries, due dates, waterfall or agile methodology that will be used, and estimated cost. It also includes potential project management risk and who is accountable for mitigating it.
Why is Scope Creep Bad in The First Place?
Scope creep maybe wouldn’t be such a big deal if everyone calculate the cost of scope creeps versus the benefits of scope creep. And if they communicated these two metrics to the stakeholders. But most probably – they don’t.
So the scope creep stays the project enemy number one. Moreover, even if organizations struggle with it regularly, there is still half of them claiming that their projects experience scope creep.
When requirements change, the scope also changes. Scope creep might result in project delays, roadblocks, stress or even stop the project. All of these go together with extended costs. – And no one likes to pay more than planned.
Types of Scope Creep
Scope creep can happen for many reasons. Here are two of them:
Client-Initiated Scope Creep
Clients are often someone who is not familiar with developing. Therefore, it sometimes happens that they misunderstand some features or projects specifications. Another point is that they have an idea of what they want, but they don’t know how should the outcome look like.
That’s why when they see the preliminary deliverables from the project, they are likely to realize they want something different. Since the organization seeks to deliver the product that brings satisfaction to the customer, it often results in to change of the plan. Change of the plan’s initial plan = scope creep.
Internally-Initiated Scope Creep
Another, more insidious, reason for breaking the project scope comes from the development team itself. The development team gains more knowledge about the product over time and sometimes finds new ways to improve deliverables. Implementing these new findings can cause big changes.
Very often this kind of project creeps leads to bigger devastations than client-based creep. To clarify, internally-initiated scope creep means announcing additional costs to the client. Superior can put pressure on that so the scope creep gets even more stressful.
Benefits of a Scope Creep
Just like with all risks, project management risk of scope creep can also bring some rewards. Scope creep advantages are:
1. Make Detailed Tasks
Insufficient clarity is one of the reasons why scope creep happens in the first place. When you realized something went wrong, you will intuitively dive deeper into the details of the scope. Along the way, you will find or create details that you didn’t have before.
Further, you will want to add more details to the upcoming phases after the scope creeps. Since scope broke because of specific work related to one team member after scope creeps you will want to make sure everyone understands the project information. Therefore, you will ensure that the scope is clear to everyone involved in the project.
2. Excessively Include Clients
Another cause of scope creep is disagreement with the client. When creep happens, you will be forced to rethink your steps. To overcome the scope you will also need stakeholders and clients to take a part in changing the plan.
Scoop creep stimulates you to communicate more clearly with stakeholders and clients. You will want to make sure this time they have pictures of what the project is. You will also need to involve them directly and walk them through all the phases and deliverables thoroughly – To be extra sure that this time they agree with everything in a new scope.
3. Better Estimations
More and more scope creep should show you where exactly did you make a mistake. That again should lead you to estimate upcoming mistakes and their solutions. You will also want to include more team members to have new better estimations. Better estimations lead to improvement of sprint velocity.
After you already started the project and deal with creep, you will have more knowledge about specifications. Therefore, your further estimations of upcoming project phases will be more accurate.
4. Including Different Opinions
When you have already proven that something from your initial plan didn’t work out, you will take into account more opinions. Even if some team members didn’t express their opinion in the first stages of creating the project scope, now when they realize it might be helpful, they could do it now.
Also, now you will have different perspectives and find different options to prioritize in project development. If needed, additional ideas that come up during making new project scope can be transferred into a future project.
5. Prioritizing Features
A lot of agile projects are laid out step-by-step development instead of focusing on the big picture as well. That might create a perspective that every feature in the process is a priority. After scope creeps, you will have to decide what features are more important if you want to avoid even bigger delays.
Here is extremely easy to notice the advantage of using JadeALM. JadeALM is one of the rare project management software that keeps the hierarchy of your project up to date and easy to track. Throughout the WBS chart that is synchronized with the document editor and other parts of the tool, you can easily set the priority of your tasks back on track after scoop creep.
Scope creep will make you faster in understanding the dependencies and identifying which components are critical for delivering a usable end product.
To handle the scope creep and to save what can be saved, you will need to have good interpersonal and team skills. One of them is leadership. Managing the risk, deciding about new priorities, taking different opinions into account requires flexibility and leadership.
It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.Bob Riley
This experience of unlearning and reacting quickly will improve your flexibility for future projects. Moreover, you will learn how to set leadership better from the beginning of the project instead of from its creep.
Learning How to Manage the Change
Change is the only thing that is constant, they say. Even though project scope change is not what you would like to be a constant, it will still happen in every project. Learning how to manage the change is one of the things scope creep brings you.
You will want to outline how to manage the changes if they appear in current tasks or upcoming projects.
Now, we would like to tell you that “After a storm comes a calm”. But the reality is that after you manage one project creep, you will probably have to manage dozens of them as well. 😛
But, as this article suggests, take the best of it. Eventually, scope creep happens because of the constant need to improve the project or some it’s parts.